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Being able to travel is something everyone wants to do, however, it is not always easy. There are many expenses to consider and careful planning is needed, especially now.
It can get overwhelming. I’ve been there myself! I know the feeling of wanting to plan a dream vacation, but not knowing where to start with planning. When I first began traveling I went through a lot of trial and error, however, I learned a lot along the way.
As I’ve become a more experienced traveler I’ve discovered tools to make planning any vacation a seamless experience. Today, I want to share those tools with you! This post will highlight a few of the tools I frequently use as well as some tips for you to keep in mind when planning your next vacation.
Hope you all enjoy it!
Top travel tools to use for your next vacation
1. Google Flights – best for cheap flights
Are you looking for cheap flights? If so, Google Flights will be your best friend!
This site allows you to browse flights in a yearly calendar format and displays the price per day for your flight. This is great if you’re still not set on when you want to vacation. I often use Google Flights to find when it’s cheapest to travel to my destination. Then from there I’ll either purchase my plane tickets or set an alert on Google to track my flight. Tracking a flight will enable Google to send you emails as the price fluctuates for your flight. I’ve booked flights for as low as $90 round trip using this feature! It’s well worth it in my opinion.
Another great feature to take advantage of if you’re looking for a budget-friendly vacation is Google Flights explore page. You can search by date and price without entering a destination. Then based on your dates and price range Google will populate flights across the United States that fit your requirements.
I recently used this feature for the first time while booking a family vacation. Since there are six of us travel can be quite pricey. We knew we wanted to go somewhere to celebrate my mom’s 50th birthday and take a summer vacation. So, I entered in the dates, price range, and the number of travelers, and left the rest to Google. In just a few minutes we booked our flights for a little under $800! I’d say that’s a great deal.
2. Expedia Group – best for group travel
Booking travel with vacation packages is one of the most convenient things I’ve ever come across. Seriously, I love it!
I often book bigger, more expensive trips through Expedia because I know everything will be taken care of at a great price. Expedia makes it easy to find travel within your budget and even offers payment plans if needed. Talk about convenience.
If you choose to book your travel in a package there’s plenty to choose from. You can book travel packages that include flight, hotel, and a rental car. It’s also possible to book flights and hotels for multiple locations within one trip. For example, if you’re wanting to take a summer vacation to Miami, then fly to another city before coming home Expedia makes it easy and affordable to do so.
I would say if saving money is at the top of your list Expedia is your go-to for travel planning!
3. Airbnb – best for a cheap stay
Airbnb is my go-to when I’m looking for affordable lodging during my vacations. I often say I love Airbnb’s because they make me feel like a local in the place I’m visiting.
My boyfriend and I recently took a road trip to Louisville, KY the weekend of the Kentucky Derby, and the Airbnb we stayed in was perfect. It was filled with decor that had tons of character, close to trendy neighborhoods, and we were greeted with a bottle of bourbon! Needless to say, our host got a 5-star review out of us.
In all honesty, though, Airbnb’s are great for saving money and can really add great value to your vacation. They allow you to become fully immersed in the place you’re visiting.
Depending on where you visit and the budget you can choose to rent out a room in your host’s house or the entire place. You can also book long-term stays for months at a time if needed.
If you’re looking for a variety when it comes to places to stay during your vacation at affordable prices Airbnb is the best!
Top tips to use for your next vacation
Having the tools to travel on a budget will give you a great starting point for planning your next vacation.
Now, let’s get into some tips you can put into action to make your travel planning even more efficient.
Start travel planning early
Beginning your planning early will allow you to get the best deals. Trust me!
Flights and accommodations are bound to rise the closer it gets to your vacation days. That’s why it’s important to eye them months in advance to lock in the best price and stay within your budget.
Set a budget and stick to it
It’s important to have a budget for everyday expenses. It’s just as important to set one when you travel as well.
How you choose to craft your budget is totally up to you. Make sure you keep your destination in mind as some locations are naturally going to be more expensive than others. Setting a budget beforehand has been a lifesaver for me time and time again!
Use a carryon vs paying for your bag
Bringing a carry-on is a great way to save a little extra money.
Depending on the airline checking your bag can be close to $60, at times higher. So, packing light to ensure all your items fit into a carry-on pays off. Literally! Plus carry-ons are convenient and cute, might I add, like this one. Who doesn’t love that?
Join a travel group
I recently joined multiple travel groups through Facebook, and it’s the best decision I’ve made in a while!
It’s an easy way to connect with others that enjoy traveling, and travel tips are constantly being shared. It’s like a group chat with friends that are always looking out for one another. I often drop in questions and/or travel recommendations to bounce ideas off of people in the group. I highly recommend joining a travel GroupMe, Facebook group, email list, etc. You won’t regret it!
Find free activities
Anything you can do at a discounted price or free is a huge win!
Now, this doesn’t have to go for every activity you plan of course, but it can come in handy especially if you travel with a bigger group. Free activities will help keep the vacation affordable without taking away from your travel experience.
Every destination has free attractions to take advantage of, so make sure to do plenty of research ahead of time.
I hope these travel tools and tips help you out as you begin planning your summer vacations. Now it’s time to set your budget and start planning!